“Well, recruiting is flat.”

A few years ago, I posted something about a model some folks at Mercer had come up with they used to predict which schools recruits were likely to choose.  They concluded thusly:

high school athletes prefer winning programs that are close to home, are in possession of good physical facilities, and are in good graces with the NCAA. Interestingly enough however, reduced scholarships increase the likelihood of choosing a particular school, holding all else constant…  [Emphasis added.]

They claimed about a 70% accuracy rate with their model, by the way.

I wonder, though, in an age of smart phones, Twitter and the Internet if it’s getting harder for schools to seal the borders.  David Cutcliffe thinks it is.

Cutcliffe, in a recent interview, lifted a smart phone in his right hand to explain.

“This has changed everything,” he said. “We hear that the world is flat now. Well, recruiting is flat. There’s more range in recruiting because of technology. It’s still about communication and building relationships, but that’s a lot easier for me to do with a youngster in Los Angeles than it was years ago.”

The article goes on to note…

Less than two weeks before signing day, of the 30-player pool composed of the top 10 committed prospects in Florida, California and Texas, 43 percent have committed to play or already enrolled at programs out of their home state.

That’s an increase of more than 10 percent from 2006.

Now some of that may be due to what’s transpired at Texas over the last year or so, with Mack Brown being widely perceived as a lame duck and Charlie Strong just hitting the recruiting trail.  But I do wonder if there’s something to what Cutcliffe says.  Besides the technology, there’s also the increasing saturation of televised college football.  Play in the right conference and a student-athlete’s family isn’t going to miss seeing him play, no matter the distance between home and school.

Just something to ponder the next time somebody yells about a top Georgia kid going outside the state to play ball.


Filed under Recruiting

34 responses to ““Well, recruiting is flat.”

  1. With the advent of families moving more often and for longer distances, none of this surprises me. All our coaches can do is to try to build relationships with HS coaches that translate into better relationships with the players over the long term. We celebrate when Sony Michel leaves Florida, Jacob Park leaves South Carolina, and Lamont Galliard leaves North Carolina, but then blame everybody from McGarity to the recruiting staff when Raekwon McMillan decides to go play for Corch when he never considered UGA. Sealing the borders is just close to impossible now.

    • Gravidy

      Good post, but I’ll take it even one step further. Sealing the borders has always been mathematically impossible for UGA. In any given year, the pool of Georgia high school recruits whose losses cause the “why can’t UGA seal the borders” meme is larger than the number of recruits UGA can sign.

      • That’s exactly right regarding the depth of talent. The math doesn’t lie.

        Throw in on top of that all of the access high school players have. Think about Herschel’s recruiting in today’s world of social media, the recruiting sites, all of the 24-hour sports channels, and unlimited college football on TV. I hate to say this, but I would have to say he probably would have left the state.

      • RocketDawg

        This! The state of GA produces the 3rd most Div IA prospects only behind CA and TX, it is a mathematically impossible to sign every kid in the state and “seal the boarders”. Not to mention that some of the kids that UGA doesn’t go after have grade or character issues or some other flag that would make them not attractive to us but aren’t considered by unscrupulous programs like tOSU, Allbarn, and USCe.

        • Gravidy

          And God forbid UGA from ever signing Stafford/Moreno/Green/Murray/Gurley/Marshall because every one of those takes a spot from a five star super-duper-can’t-miss prospect like Crowell.

      • hassan

        Mark Fox needs to seal the borders more so than Mark Richt.

  2. I still say the talent pool in the state of Georgia makes it impossible to seal the borders.. there’s more there than UGA can possibly take, AND.. the other in state Div. 1 school is running the triple option, which, apparently, doesn’t appeal to whole segments of talent.. so you’re talking about a program that, I believe, isn’t hauling in the level of talent that it used to… so where else are top guys going to go? Out of state.

    • Good point about Tech – we certainly don’t compete with Tech for talent especially on offense. A lot of guys who may have stayed in state but didn’t want UGA would have gone to Tech but now go out of state. Long live Fish Fry!

  3. hassan

    Mark Richt has lost control of Facetwittagram

  4. Dawg in Austin

    Technology is definitely the key factor. If it were the down cycles of USC, UF and Texas, the recruits would be going to rival in-state schools, but they are leaving their states altogether.

    • Irishdawg

      Oregon is a big draw for California players, with their space station facilities and filthy Nike money, and many times Oklahoma or LSU are the same driving distance for Texas players as UT or A&M.

      I understand that UGA can’t get every in state stud, but it does hurt to lose out on guys that we have pushed on hard to Auburn or Tennessee.

  5. “Head coach Butch Jones, along with his staff, have been wizards on the recruiting trail. Not much room is left, but the Vols are No. 6 in the 247Sports recruiting rankings right now. ”
    2013 5-7
    2012 5-7
    2011 5-7
    2010 6-7

    • Joe Schmoe

      It’s pretty easy to be high in the recruiting ranking when you have 7-10 more recruits than anyone else.

      • Georgia signed 34? last year. Managed a number 10? ranking. Point being Butch is doing rather well for a school that has had 1 winning season in 6 years? Bamma is going to be 8 0r 10 men over roster allowences. Wonder who is graduating early?

        • Joe Schmoe

          The difference between a 6 and 10 ranking is almost nothing in my mind given how inaccurate a lot of the player evaluations turn out to be.

        • PTC DAWG

          Do you really think the recruiting rankings are accurate enough to distinguish between top 10-15 classes?

          • Predicting the future of an 17 or 18 year old is no easy task. I’ve had 17 and 18 yr olds myself. But somebody must think a lot of those rankings cause they sure ain’t doing it for free.

  6. Sealing the border is just an AJC idea.

  7. Macallanlover

    “staying close to home” is a misnomer as well when you consider how many top programs surround the borders of Georgia. In addition to not being able to mathematically sign all the D1 talent in Georgia, many players’ hometowns are physically closer to out of state campuses, or at least an insignificant driving distance. There isn’t another Top 5, talent-rich state like Georgia, although Ohio is close if you don’t get hung up on what defines a comparable quality program in bordering states. UGA is in direct competition with SC, Clemson, TN, FSU, FU, Auburn, Bama,, and this doesn’t count the small appeal of programs like Vandy, UCF, GSU, and GT have for some.

    I am not as bent out of shape about where our talent comes from, but would certainly like to get the players we want from Georgia. The bashing comes more from the lunatic fringe and the AJC, imo. In today’s more open society it is getting to be less and less significant, particularly when juxtaposed against the out of state talent we have benefited from (Murray was not mentioned on some of those lists…come on!). The geographical vulnerability Georgia is subject to due to proximity makes comparisons with many states invalid, especially those in the West and Midwest. I think we have done well, outside OL recruiting….and I think the answer to that problem may lie beyond the borders of Georgia.

    • Macallan, great post as usual. We’re never going to dominate the LaGrange to Columbus corridor because of the War Tiglesmen. We have to fight like mad from Camden County to Thomasville with UF & FSU closer to home. We’ll always have to defend Northwest Georgia from the Hillbillies. We will always have to take on everyone in metro Atlanta with the transient nature of the population. Regarding out of state, I would take:
      1) Aaron Murray over Connor Shaw
      2) Gurley and Marshall over Drake and Jones
      3) AJ Green over any Georgia receiver in that group of classes
      4) I really do believe that the OL recruiting issues really have to be solved with a focus on out of state players like we have done at QB

      • Irwin R. Fletcher

        Shorter version…before cell phones, there was a technology improvement called interstates that put most of UGA’s rivals within a comparable driving time.

        Athens isn’t in a great spot, logistically. UGA is the only major program in Georgia and the 5 bordering states that isn’t located on an interstate. When you start talking about distance and logistics being a factor in recruiting, I don’t know how you can ignore that.

        • Excellent point, but UGA does have the inherent advantage of being the closest (except Tech) to one of the deepest HS talent pools in the country – Atlanta – the staff can go on a recruiting trip and be back home in time for dinner with their families

          • Macallanlover

            Cuts both ways, it is an easy drive from Atlanta to those other schools from Atlanta on those same interstates. Athens might be closer to Atlanta but we aren’t talking about an expensive flight, or 2-3 nights of motel costs for family/friends to go watch a recruit play.

  8. 69Dawg

    As Bear Bryant said “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” Coaching them up would help a lot.

  9. Will Trane

    Recruiting…flat, not enough stars, not tall enough, etc. Signing day around the corner and the Dawgs commitment list appears deficient in star players. Some dude thinks Pruitt getting a 5′ 11″ 3 star DB is a waste, not a good decision, must be the future 3 pt holder, and etc. Says Green is probably off the booard.

  10. Will Trane

    Some dude thinks 5’11” DBs are an issue and does not fit the mold for UGA. Checked FSU’s roster. 7 DBs 5’11” and smaller. FSU…national champs, ACC champs, ended SEC BCS run, defense coached by Pruitt. Wonder if that dude is crazy. Thinks Green not likely to commit. Guess Demps out of Lowndes was too small for UGA, but not a national champ.